Snakes are common in Bali. The way to stay safe from snakes is to have a robust snake plan and snake education. In Empathy School Bali, we have both.
It’s important to remember that snakes do not attack humans unless they are afraid and cornered. Usually, snakes will try to slither away, and if not it is not possible to strike in self-defense. It’s important to remember snakes are not usually mobile if they are cold and it is very possible for a snake to go toward danger. Snakes do not chase humans and would rather not be around them.
Most snakes in Bali are not venomous (although their bites do still hurt) and those that are venomous do not normally leave lethal doses in those bitten (snakes instinctively conserve their venom). However, do not assume that a snake is venomous or not. In ANY case, where humans (or animals) are bitten, stay calm and call the main emergency number (112) for an ambulance and assistance locating the nearest hospital (or vet).
Our snake education.
Kids aged 5 and under: we use a plastic snake and discuss why we do not grab, attack, search for snakes, or play with snakes without an adult’s explicit permission. We do this to ensure our children do not approach and interact with a scared snake at home or at school.
Kids 6 and above, or younger kids with parent permission: learn the same as the younger kids and also may play and interact with tame, nonvenomous snakes. We discuss snake safety as well as snake motivation and care.
The Bali reptile park also does presentations for our kids to further ensure they understand snake safety and learn to honor the environment around them
Our Snake plan. “Code Green”
To keep our kids safe we must implement policies to prevent snakes from finding their way into the school. Walls do not work; snakes can climb walls. But there are many strategies that work.
This is what we do.
First and foremost, we cut all grass short so there are no ideal hiding places for snakes. If snakes cannot hide, they will look for another place.
Every morning, we do morning parole around school grounds to make sure a snake has not entered the property overnight. In the cool Bali mornings, snakes tend to be very lethargic so if we find a snake we will remove it. We have multiple trained staff who have experience dealing with and removing snakes and we have snake tools. We have a three-meter pole for gathering and removing snakes as well as a facemask.
Throughout the day if any of us were to encounter a snake all team members have walkie-talkies. We use the phrase “Code green” to notify other teachers. Teachers will keep kids away from the area as designated staff remove any snakes. If anyone is ever bitten our plan is to immediately go to the nearest clinic/hospital, RS Ari Canti.